The Juniper Tree | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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Wendy Kesselman's new musical adaptation of this Brothers Grimm tale scrambles the draconian motifs of northern European folklore--abusive stepmothers, infanticide, dismemberment, cannibalism--into a hodgepodge of grotesque violence and sentimental melancholy. How much of this is being played for laughs is unclear. Kesselman's repetitive, atonal songs help string the scenes together, and set designer Grant Sabin's titular tree is imposing. But director David Cromer appears to have focused on the quick costume changes required when only two actors are playing all the parts. The result is an uneasy 75 minutes for performers and audience alike. --Mary Shen Barnidge a Through 4/7: Fri-Sat 8 PM, Sun 3 PM, City Lit Theater Company, Edgewater Presbyterian Church, 1020 W. Bryn Mawr, 773-293-3682, $25.

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